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News shorts: Omar Fraile looking to replicate Vuelta a Espana success at Taiwan KOM Challenge

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Omar Fraile on the final Vuelta podium.

Omar Fraile on the final Vuelta podium.
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Loïc Vliegen (BMC)

Loïc Vliegen (BMC) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Kristoff Vandewalle (Trek)

Kristoff Vandewalle (Trek) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Michael Rogers (Tinkoff Saxo)

Michael Rogers (Tinkoff Saxo) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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John Ebsen (CCN) takes the victory at the Taiwan KOM Challenge

John Ebsen (CCN) takes the victory at the Taiwan KOM Challenge (Image credit: PhotoSport International)

The Vuelta a Espana king of the mountains classification winner Omar Fraile is looking to conquer the Taiwan KOM Challenge, the annual climbing competition that awards €28,000 to the winner. Fraile also won the  Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco KOM competition and won the Italian 1.1 Giro dell'Appennino this season.

The Caja Rural-Seguros RGA rider, who is moving to MTN-Qhubeka from next season, will look to get the better of fellow professionals two-time winner John Ebsen (Androni), Taiwanese road race champion Chun-kai Feng (Lampre-Merida) and Lasse Norman Hansen (Cannondale-Garmin) at the top of the 3,275m mountain.

"I've never ridden such a high mountain so we'll see how it goes. I think the best thing is to follow the local hero [Feng], that would be a good place to start," Fraile said of the challenge. "The first part I think will be very fast and the end will be the hardest with ramps up to 27%".

The 600 entrants for the challenge will cover 105km with the first 18.1 kilometres to be neutralised. The average gradient for the first 80km of the climb is 5% with the final seven kilometres ramping up to 10% and one section where the roads reaches a leg sapping 27%. With €28,000 for the winner, there is a €14,00o reward for the runner up and €3,000 for the third place getter.

Professional riders Jeremy Roy (FDJ), Anthony Charteau (Europcar), Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) and Will Routley (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) have all appeared at the event previously, as has Olympic gold medalist Nicole Cooke and Tiffany Cromwell (Velocio-SRAM).

Successful heart operation for Vliegen

BMC's Loïc Vliegen has successfully undergone surgery to correct a congenital heart defect in Liége, Belgium. The team announced the 20-year-old would undergo the surgery two days ago.

The Belgian tweeted from the hospital that he was "Back in my room after my operation. Everything is ok. Now I have to rest a little bit," he wrote.

Vliegen started the 2015 season with the BMC Development Team, making the move up to the WorldTour team, who signed a long-term seal with, on August 1 going to race the Clasica San Sebastian, Eneco Tour, GP Ouest France and the two Canadian GP races in Montreal and Quebec.

Cyclingnews podcast - Exclusive interview with Michael Rogers

This week's Cyclingnews podcast features an exclusive interview with Tinkoff-Saxo's Michael Rogers. Cyclingnews editor-in-chief Daniel Benson sat down with the Australian veteran at the team's training camp in Porec, Croatia this week.

You can listen to Rogers reliving the highs and lows of his career below or click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews podcast on iTunes and listen when and where ever you please

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